Victorian driver Matt Close could be on his way to his first Targa victory after finishing day one of Targa Wrest Point at the head of the leaderboard.

Driving his Audi TT RS, Close and his co-driving wife, Casey, had a largely troublefree day to finish eight seconds clear of pre-race favourite, Jason White, in his Lamborghini Gallardo, with young gun Brendan Reeves in a Mazda RX8 SP third, a further 17 seconds further back in the modern competition.

It was a day of drama in the two-day Hobart-based event, which is round three of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship.

The early leaders in both the Classic Outright and 4WD Showroom competition, George Miedecke (Ford Capri Perana) and Ric Shaw (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X), crashed out within a stage of each other, despite conditions being perfect for tarmac rallying.

Miedecke and Ralph Norton both finished in the Huon River after missing a corner on the day’s fourth stage, Esperence Coast.

In fine and sunny conditions, the 120 cars contested seven tarmac stages covering a distance of over 121 competitive kilometres.

Close knows White is still a real threat with over 80 competitive kilometres remaining but is determined not to succumb to the pressure that is sure to mount across the final stages.

"We had a really good day," a delighted Close said.

"We've been working on a few things on the car since Targa High Country and we're really happy with the way it's worked out - the car started doing the things we wanted it to do.

"You know, the road up to Tahune is really tough on the car and doesn't suit it, but we showed people what it could do on the Esperence Coast stage where the terrain suited it better.

"We didn't look at the results all day and that's exactly the same approach we'll take tomorrow. If we're good enough at the end to get on the podium, that will be a fantastic result for us."

After Miedecke’s accident into the Huon River, championship leader Donn Todd surged ahead in the Classic competition, but he too dropped time on the last stage, leaving Launceston’s David Cooper in the lead in his 1977 Torana A9X.

One of the stars of the day was Matthew Rickards in his 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 who leads the Early Modern class and set the fourth fastest time overall.

2012 Targa Wrest Point

Provisional results after Day 1

MODERN
1. Matt Close / Casey Close, 2010 Audi TT RS
2. Jason White / John White, 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stadale, +8s
3. Brendan Reeves / Rhianon Smyth, 2010 Mazda RX7 SP, +25s
4. Jim Richards / Barry Oliver, 2011 Porsche GT2 RS, +1m02s
5. Nathan Reeves / Matt Lee, 2011 Subaru WRX STI, +1m51s
6. Vic Scona / Matthew Harriott, 2004 Subaru WRX STI, +2m03
7. Neill Ford / Neill Ford, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, +2m11s
8. Michael Pritchard / Timothy Stevens, 2004 Porsche GT3 CS, +3m29s
9. Kym Illman / Antonia Spears, 20006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, 4m11s
10. toby Gill / Remi Durrenberger, 2009 Holden HSV Maloo

SHANNONS CLASSIC OUTRIGHT
1. David Cooper / Jason Dann, 1977 Holden Torana A9X
2. Nic Ellis / Travis Lacey, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +58s
3. John Ireland / Michael Ribot, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +1m51s
4. Paul Stuart / Lachie Stuart, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +2m18s
5. Greg Cook / Jenny Cole, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +3m40s

EARLY MODERN
1. Matthew Rickards / Damien Grimwood, 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII RS
2. Tony Warren / Natasha Deniese, 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, +1m54s
3. Scott Strong / Nathan Walker, 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI TME, +2m17s

SHOWROOM
1. Simon Evans  / Sue Evans, 2009 Mazda3 MPS
2. Adam Dodd / Lee Challoner-Miles, 2006 Mazda MX5, +3m36s
3. Hartley Sutcliffe / Peta Davies, 2006 Mazda MX5, +5m54s

TMR PERFORMANCE 4WD SHOWROOM
1. Dean Evans / Zoey Gillis, 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
2. Scott Millar / Christopher Dean, 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +21s
3. Eddie Maguire / Steve Glenney, 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, +1m41s

SHANNONS EARLY CLASSIC HANDICAP
1. Andrew Bryson / Craig Milich, 1964 Hillman Imp Rallye
2. Geoff Duggan / Leon Duggan, 1969 Datsun 2000 Sports, +57s
3. Peter Killick / Roslyn Killick, 1965 Ford Cortina, +2m34s

SHANNONS LATE CLASSIC HANDICAP
1. Robert Gambino / Paul Hibberd, 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB
2. Nic Ellis / Travis Lacey, 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +5s
3. Paul Stuart / Lachie Stuart, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, +10s 

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